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Tree Ceremony Continues Project of National Significance

(PRWEB) May 16, 2013

A sweeping and ambitious effort to plant or dedicate a tree for each of the more than 620,000 soldiers who died during the American Civil War continues in Gettysburg, as a precursor for the upcoming 150th Commemoration of the Battle of Gettysburg. The Living Legacy Project, an initiative of national significance, was launched by the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership to commemorate the Sesquicentennial of the Civil War. A ceremony will take place in collaboration with the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg and the Gettysburg Seminary Ridge Museum in Gettysburg on May 21st, which includes the dedication of a Witness Tree that was on the property at the time of the battle to an unknown soldier and the planting of two Living Legacy trees dedicated to fallen soldiers. The ceremony will get underway at 5 p.m. at the Church of the Abiding Presence on the Seminary campus and wrap up at the dedication site.

The new Gettysburg Seminary Ridge Museum will open July 1, 2013, and will focus on three major areas of emphasis—none of which are the focus of any other museum in Gettysburg: the pivotal first day of the Battle of Gettysburg on Seminary Ridge; the care of the wounded; and the larger issues of faith and freedom. A one-mile outdoor trail, featuring trees planted as part of the Living Legacy Project, will complement a museum visit with wayside markers. The museum project is a joint venture of the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, the Adams County Historical Society and the Seminary Ridge Historic Preservation Foundation.

The Living Legacy Project will stretch along the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Scenic Byway, a 180-mile swath of land that runs from Gettysburg, PA to Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello in Charlottesville, VA. The JTHG National Scenic Byway, which crosses the Mason Dixon Line, serves as a link to several Civil War battlefield sites and connects over 30 historic communities, each of which was gravely impacted by the Civil War. The Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area holds the largest concentration of Civil War battlefield sites in the country, including the beginning of the War (Harpers Ferry and Manassas), the middle (Antietam and Gettysburg) and the end, (Appomattox).

As part of the ceremony on May 21, Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg President Michael Cooper White will be providing keynote remarks. In addition, author and Pulitzer Prize Nominee Kent Lawrence Gramm, a visiting Professor at Gettysburg College, will share stories of the Civil War and those who gave the ultimate sacrifice on the grounds of the Lutheran Theological Seminary. He will be joined by students from Hartford Memorial Middle School in Hartford, Vermont and students from Gettysburg Area Middle School, who will be planting the two trees in honor of George Shrive and Pliny White. Students from both schools have been researching soldiers who fought at Gettysburg as part of their service-learning projects, and this ceremony is the culmination of their efforts. The Gettysburg Area Middle School students have been participating in the Journey Through Hallowed Ground’s Of the Student, For the Student, By the Student project®, creating vodcasts that will become official interpretative materials for Gettysburg National Military Park. The Vermont students have worked in collaboration with Flow of History and ValleyQuest to create soldier stories as part of an education project.

“These students, through their individual and collective efforts are helping to make history not only relevant to themselves, but to each of us,” said Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership President Cate Magennis Wyatt. “And they are discovering the deep-seeded roots that binds us all, regardless of where we live.”

The Living Legacy Project will create a unified color palette that reminds visitors that they are, indeed, on hallowed ground. Upon completion, this initiative will create the first 180-mile landscaped allée in the world and the only allée dedicated to honoring the most defining moment in American history. A signature palette of seasonal trees and plantings, including redbuds, red oaks, red maple, and red cedar have been selected to represent the courage and valor of the individuals being honored with this project. A secondary palette, including canopy and understory trees, evergreens, shrubs, and ground coverings, will also feature red as a predominant color, with plantings including black gum trees, sassafras, and winterberry. The native selection is appropriate to the diverse landscapes along this historic corridor, and remains sensitive to the local ecology, scenic views, and development patterns.

Several hundred trees have already been planted or dedicated in Virginia, and this is the second major ceremony as part of this program. The Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership is actively engaged in raising the necessary funds to complete this $65 million initiative. Individuals, businesses, schools, and community groups from around the world can contribute to this project. The JTHG Partnership is seeking $100 contributions to support and plant each tree. Donors may select a soldier to honor, as the trees will be geo-tagged to allow Smart Phone users to learn the story of the soldier, providing a strong educational component to engage interest in the region’s historical heritage and literally bringing the tree to life. Over 350 organizational partners of the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership are already engaged with the Living Legacy Project. For more information on the Living Legacy Project, visit

For more information about the Gettysburg Seminary Ridge Museum and to reserve tickets, including reservations for the Exclusive-Access Cupola Tour, visit

The JTHG Partnership is a non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness of the unparalleled historic, natural, and cultural landscape within the swath of land from Gettysburg to Monticello. This is the region Where America Happened™, as it contains more history than any other region in the nation and includes: World Heritage sites, 16 National Historic Landmarks, over 10,000 sites on the National Register of Historic Places, 49 National Historic Districts, nine Presidential homes, 13 National Parks, hundreds of African American and Native American heritage sites, 30 Historic Main Street communities, sites from the Revolutionary War, the French-Indian War, the War of 1812 and the largest concentration of American Civil War sites in the nation. For more information, go to:

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